Documentary by Fred Kudjo Kuwornu, USA/Italy, 59min, 2008
“Inside Buffalo“ uncovers the story of the 92nd division, an African American segregated combat unit which fought in Italy during WWII. Nicknamed Buffalo Soldiers, these men fought two wards at the same time, one against the Nazis, the other against racial discrimination. The last living African-American soldier awarded the Medal of Honor in WWII, Vernon Baker, recounts vividly his wartime experiences as the heroism of his unit. Baker and fellow Buffalo Soldiers touchingly reveal how profound friendships were built with Italians they’d liberated from fascist rule. Inside Buffalo is a patchwork of stories that history almost forgot to tell.
The 92nd Infantry Division was an all African-America combat unit of the United States Army in World War I and World War II. Nicknamed the “Buffalo Soldiers Division”, this segregated unit was the only African American infantry division to see combat in Europe during World War II, as part of the 5th Army.
The 370th Regimental Combat Team, attached to the 1st Armored Division, arrived in Naples, Italy, 1 August 1944 and entered combat on the 24th. It participated in the crossing of the Arno River, the occupation of Lucca and the penetration of the Gothic Line. Enemy resistance was negligible in its area. As Task Force 92, elements of the 92nd attacked on the Ligurian coastal flank toward Massa, 5 October. By the 12th, the slight gains achieved were lost to counterattacks. On 13 October, the remainder of the Division concentrated for patrol activities.
Elements of the 92nd moved to the Serchio sector, 3 November 1944, and advanced in the Serchio River Valley against light resistance, but the attempt to capture Castelnuovo di Garfagnana did not succeed. Patrol activities continued until 26 December when the enemy attacked, forcing units of the 92nd to withdraw. The attack ended on 28 December. The attacking forces were mainly from the Alpine Division “Monte Rosa”, a division of the army of the Italian Social Republic (4 battalions), with the support of 3 German battalions. Aside from patrols and reconnaissance, units of the 92d attacked in the Serchio sector, 5-8 February 1945, against the Italian Bersaglieri Division “Italia”, another unit of the army of the Italian Social Republic, but enemy counterattacks nullified Division advances.
On 1 April, the 370th RCT and the attached 442nd RCT (Nisei) attacked in the Ligurian coastal sector and drove rapidly north against light opposition of German 148th Infantry Division supported by Italian coastal units. The 370th took over the Serchio sector and pursued a retreating enemy from 18 April until the collapse of enemy forces, 29 April 1945. Elements of the 92nd Division entered La Spezia and Genoa on the 27th and took over selected towns along the Ligurian coast until the enemy surrendered, 2 May 1945.
Between August 1944 and May 1945 the 92nd Division suffered 3,200 casualties, factoring losses from units attached to the division brings the total up to 5,000 casualties.
On the Italian Front, the Buffalo Soldiers had the opportunity to make contact with men of many nationalities: beyond the attached 442nd RCT, they also had contact with the segregated troops of the British and French colonial empires (Black Africans, Morrocans, Algerians, Indians, Gurkhas, Jews and Palestinians) as well as with exiled Poles, Greeks and Czechs, anti-fascist Italians and the non segregated troops of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force
Activated: 15 October 1942.
Overseas: 22 September 1944.
Campaigns: North Apennines, Po Valley.
Awards: Medal of Honor-2; Distinguished Service Cross (United States Army)-2; Distinguished Service Medal (United States)-1; Silver Star-208; Legion of Merit-16; Soldier’s Medal-6; Bronze Star -1,166; Purple Hearts-1891; Orders of the Crown of Italy-8; Military Crosses for Military Valor (Italian)-17; Military Crosses for Merit in War (Italian)-22; Military Cross for Merit in War (Italian) 92nd Division Colors; War Medal (Brazil)
Washington, DC Premiere
Saturday, July 25th at 4:00pm
Grosvenor Auditorium, National Geographic Society, 1600 M street NW, Washington, DC 20036
For further information, please visit: www.insidebuffalo.org.